While western Iowa waits to hear about its federal disaster declaration, Cedar Rapids received a $20-million payment this week, so it has now drawn down one third of its flood-recovery funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Three years after the 2008 flood, the city has received roughly $100-million from FEMA. Flood recovery director Joe O’Hern says it’s an ongoing chain. O’Hern says, “We front the money for projects and costs, and resolve any issues and questions with FEMA to get reimbursed for those costs. And we continue to front the costs for other projects as we resolve our issues with FEMA to get reimbursed for those projects.”
O’Hearn says there’s a balance they have to watch in getting the projects done. “There is a limit to how much of that upfront funding the city can incur without being reimbursed. And some of these issues have been under discussion for some time. And resolving them and getting reimbursement for these activities is becoming increasingly important,” O’Hearn says.
The city’s still negotiating over some $230 million in reimbursements. Several of the city’s flood-damaged landmarks, including the Paramount Theater and the Public Library, have received at least partial FEMA funding.